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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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emerge from the narrow limits of home life and is making his
first acquaintance with the social world beyond the home. He
does not yet distinguish clearly between means and ends, and
consequently is not troubled with problems of any kind. The
central theme of his first studies is the life and occupations of the
home. Then he passes to the larger social activities on which the
home is dependent, more especially the work of the farm; and
proceeds in the last year to learn about the development of the
fundamental inventions and occupations by an experimental
reconstruction of the various phases of prehistoric life. Only
in this last year are reading and writing introduced, and a begin-
ning made with a systematic treatment of geography, (b) The
period of spontaneous attention is the period of technique. The
child is now both able and willing to acquire different forms of
skill, because of his growing sense of the possibility of more
permanent and objective results. Means and end .are no, longer
confused, and there is the capacity for analysing details and
acting according to rule in ordinary matters which is necessary
for the solution of practical problems. All this points to the need
for very considerable changes in the matter and method of the
school pursuits. ""On the educational side, the problem is, as
regards the subject-matter, to differentiate the vague unity of
experience into characteristic typical phases, selecting such as
clearly illustrate the importance to mankind of command over
specific agencies, and methods of thought and action in realizing
its highest aims." The special studies must accordingly be treated
to some extent independently of each other. " The problem on
the side of method is an analogous one: to bring the child to
recognize the necessity of a similar development (to that of
humanity) within himself—the need of securing for himself
practical and intellectual control of such methods of work and
inquiry as will enable him to realize results for himself."
Proper history, with America as its subject, now takes the place
of the general treatment ofr the occupations and their evolution,
the aim being to give a " knowledge of social processes .used to
secure social results" by showing how human purposes are achieved
under a variety of typical conditions of climate and locality.
The same general principle of the adaptation of means to end
controls also the work in geography and experimental science.
It is all directly practical, (c) The period of reflective attention